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Barrow meets with veterans

Crowd asks for VA clinic in Bulloch County

A standing room only crowd of nearly 80 veterans packed the Honey Bowen Building Tuesday night to express their concerns regarding veterans' issues to Congressman John Barrow.
    At the top of the list of concerns was the request for a Veterans Clinic located in Statesboro or Bulloch County to serve the nearly 25,000 veterans in Bulloch and surrounding counties.
    Ray Hendrix said he's gotten the support of many of the cities and counties that would be affected by the proposed new clinic, which would serve to prevent the lengthy travel to Savannah, Augusta, Dublin or even Charleston, S.C. veterans face if they want the health care promised them.
    "I won't be satisfied until the veterans get the care they deserve," Barrow said, drawing applause from the crowd.
    Barrow agreed that Bulloch County appears to be the ideal location to place a clinic to serve the 25,000 veterans, but they would be up against other places in the country that may have more veterans in a similar sized area.
    He also said the federal government has not done its part in keeping the promise it made to veterans when they enlisted.
    "Those promises were made and those promises ought to be kept," he said. "Nothing shows how misplaced Congress' priorities are than the fact that Congress gets an annual cost of living adjustment each year without a vote."
    Several veterans complained of the distance they had to drive, as well as dealing with the bureaucracy of the system in trying to get health care, saying sometimes they would have to drive an hour or more to get treatment for something that could be handled locally if there was a place for them.
    One veteran said several of them from Claxton make appointments on the same day so they can car pool to the clinic to save money on gas.
    Barrow said Congress has appropriated more money for veterans care, but said that wasn't the point.
    "The fact that you're spending more doesn't matter. The question is are you spending enough more?" he said.
Tuesday's stop was one of six stops planned by Barrow to listen to veterans from across the district.
    In addition to Statesboro, Barrow was visiting Savannah, Lyons, Louisville, Milledgeville and Augusta to hold similar town hall style meetings with veterans.

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